You Don't Have To Be Perfect To Feel Better
Step 1: Here's me giving in to all the insecurities of this exact moment. *Just skip this part if you don't feel like listening to my whiny butt-face.
I don't have enough money (although what else is new). I don't have the stability to guarantee a future for my family. I should have finished college. I should have worked harder. I should have learned another language. I should have learned an instrument. I'm getting too old to do what I want. I'm not a good enough friend, daughter, girlfriend, student. I haven't done enough to make the world better. I have given up on so many things. I never set myself up to be more successful. I never pushed myself enough. I don't even know distinctly where I'm headed and what I truly want, to get started in a better direction. I am depressed. I am overwhelmed. I am exhausted. I am inadequate.
Step 2: Here's me, with not that much effort, just finding a little gratitude, without inflicting judgement or guilt for also having insecurities/fears:
I am sitting here typing on a working Macbook, freely capable of writing and publishing something vulnerable and uplifting, and even if no one but my Aunt Cathey reads it, it will have been worth it. Because I need these moments. I need these check ins with myself. I'm shifting my perspective from hopeless-about-my-past/terrified-of-the-future to GRATEFUL-FOR-THE-PRESENT, and the present is exactly where I want to be. It's where all the good stuff is! I have very good health. My body is smart and strong and constantly healing itself in record time. I have a home full of comfy, plant-filled nooks for writing and relaxing. I have a hammock! FUCK YEAH HAMMOCK.
I have so many relationships filled with love and acceptance and long-term appreciation. I live and love with the most generous, beautiful, heart-centered human I have ever known. I don't need any exact, particular outcomes in order to be happy. I don't need Instagram to feel cool. I have an amazing family who supports me and makes me laugh. I have steadily worked and studied, worked and studied since I left college and that pattern is not likely to change. I have dealt with rejection and loss and I am a better, more grounded person for it. Inspiration and fiery work ethic have hit me in waves and seasons and I am thankful for the busy times and the slow...when I learn to relax and just appreciate again.
My life doesn't look like anyone else's, and I wouldn't want it to.
Every breath is precious in this place. Every milestone of every size and scope can be enjoyed or ignored...and I choose to enjoy. I choose to listen to the rustling leaves outside my window, move my body and stretch, sing just because it's fun, and not get too worked up in the planning and analysis of it all.
I might need to be reminded of those options as quickly as an hour from now, but that's OK. I like being reminded.
*In the same 20 minutes I summoned BOTH deep fear and deep acceptance/joy. Instead of letting it all live in a jumble in my mind, I wrote focused lists for each, starting with the crap that's bothering me, and finishing with the good stuff that lifts my heart and perspective. Sometimes letting our fears have a voice can clarify that higher perspective.
The world and my life is not perfect, and it doesn't have to be. Maybe your day and story doesn't look anything like mine, but yours probably has room for a little present-moment reflection and gratitude. Even just a few conscious deep breaths will change the course of your day. It's the listening and being present that makes us better at our jobs, more confident in our skills, and better prepared/focused for those long-haul journeys with the most satisfying results.
So, Step 1: Let it not be perfect and don't judge or condemn the fears that come up--every human being feels them.
Step 2: Talk yourself into a little no nonsense gratitude. Start with the smallest thing you can think of. Speak the way you would speak to your best friend or child or coworker.
Step 3: Be OK with exactly where you are on this journey, and use your nuggets of gratitude to propel you in the daily journey to improvement.
It's all... ...about... ...perspective. :)